WASHINGTON — At some point, probably after a few more runners are gunned down on the basepaths, opponents may stop testing the throwing arm of Angels outfielder J.B. Shuck. That point has apparently not arrived yet.
Washington Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton drove a ball into left-center field in the third inning Monday night and did not even hesitate around first base.
Shuck, playing left field, raced to that gap, backhanded the ball and fired a firm strike in the air to second baseman Howie Kendrick for his second outfield assist of the season. It was one of several outstanding plays the Angels made in a 4-2 victory over Washington.
Shuck doesn’t have what scouts would consider a cannon for an arm, but it’s extremely accurate and, when combined with his ability to get to balls and his quick release, it is very effective. Shuck led the Angels with seven outfield assists as a rookie last season.
“I guess I would do the same thing, when I hit a ball in the gap, I’m going to try to stretch it to two,” Shuck, who is starting in right field against the Nationals on Tuesday night, said of Lobaton’s decision Monday night. “I love when they run on me. It’s a fun challenge.”
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